Arroz con cerdo is one of those comfort foods that just gets better and better the longer you let the flavors marinate.
Here come the cooler mornings, and with them come the cravings for soups, chili and steaming bowls of carne guisada. For this recipe, I combined my pork carne guisada with a chile ancho sauce and some rice for a one-pot meal. The result was this amazing arroz con cerdo, or rice and pork.
For me, chile ancho or any of the red dried chiles are just perfect when paired with pork. Whether it’s stewed, fried, roasted or shredded, the flavors really work. I have a favorite salsa I like to prepare when serving pork tacos. It’s basically chile ancho, tomatillos, chipotle, garlic and onion. This is where I came up with the braising sauce (minus the chipotles), but you could certainly add them instead of the serrano or jalapeño listed.
Try making this recipe instead of chili the next time it’s game day at your house. I would suggest making it a couple of days ahead, because the flavors just get better and better! After three days, it tasted even better than on the first day.
3-4 chiles ancho stems and seeds removed
2large tomatillos washed and cut in half
1 chile serrano or jalapeño pepper, stem removed
1½pounds pork steaks sliced into smaller pieces (I used bone-in steaks)
In a sauce pan, combine the chile ancho, tomatillos and serrano pepper. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.
Season the pork to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the pork and cook until browned and seared on most sides. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, marjoram, thyme and oregano. Cook for another 3 minutes.
Drain and transfer the tomatillo mixture to the blender. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh water, 1 teaspoon of bouillon. Blend on high until smooth and pour into the skillet with pork.
To the pork, add 2 cups of low-sodium broth. Stir well to combine; taste for salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, add the 1/2 cup of rice, stir gently. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Before serving, fluff rice with fork. Garnish with Mexican crema and green onions.
Chile ancho and tomatillos make for a great braising sauce, but also make a tasty salsa. Add your softened chile ancho, poached tomatillos with a few chipotles in adobo, garlic and onion in the blender for a tangy and smoky salsa!
When choosing what kind of pork to use for carne guisada, I like to use bone-in pork steak or chops. They have a little more fat in them and make for a tender guisado.
When browning the pork, you don't need much oil. The pork will start to release its own fat, and this is where you will get some great, deep flavors of pork carnitas the longer it browns.